Google's Nexus tablet is billed as a Kindle Fire killer. Let's see how it stacks up.
By clicking one of our links you're supporting our labs and our independence, as we may earn a small share of revenue. Recommendations are separate from any business incentives.
By offering consumers a way to get a taste of tablet at an easy-to-swallow price point of $199, the Kindle Fire became a big hit among people who didn't want to shell out $500 for an iPad. Though Amazon's first tablet certainly made waves, it's about to go under water with the launch of Google's Nexus7 tablet.
The new Nexus tablet is quite simply the best Android tablet so far. The hardware performs better than most other Android devices out there. But it also has Jelly Bean, the latest version (4.1) of the Android operating system—it even leaves the iPad's excellent OS in the dust in many regards. And it's a bonus that it's also one of the most affordable tablets out there of any size or type.
Basically, it's the closet that you can come to the smooth, immersive experience of an iPad on the Android OS. Inputs are responsive, which has been a problem with many Android tablets. The screen is nearly as vibrant as the latest iPad's (and much more so than any other Android), so videos and photos looks fantastic. And it runs all of the latest apps like a champion.
The Kindle Fire has some shortcomings, most obviously the outdated hardware and software. But the excellent integration with Amazon services has earned it a loyal following. If you're an Amazon Prime member, and don't need the full-on tablet experience with smooth, beautiful graphics, the Fire might be the way to go.
It's still the only tablet that can stream video from Amazon Video-on-Demand and borrow books from the Kindle lending library. Still, it feels like an e-reader with tablet features, and its raw capabilities are limited. You're out of luck if you want to run the latest and greatest Android apps.
The choice comes down to whether you want a first-rate tablet with excellent graphics, or you're an Amazon Prime fanatic who wants a seamless experience. Our vote is for the Nexus 7, since it can do almost everything that the Fire can do, and much, much more.